PRODUCT REVIEW - ROLAND SANDS DESIGN - CLASH JACKET
Roland Sands, the former AMA 250GP champion racer and custom builder supreme, is not content creating bespoke cycles for discerning customers, he also designs some fine riding gear to go with it.
He formed Roland Sands Design in 2005 to create custom builds that combined sports bike technology with chopper influences, and has played a key role in popularizing high performance custom bikes both in the US and internationally. He has earned numerous awards and a formidable reputation.
His line of apparel combines style awareness with uncompromising construction and protection. I recently took delivery of the Clash jacket in Oxblood, and was blown away by it.
First off, and I’m not ashamed to say it, this is a beautiful jacket. The deep red leather looks aged out of the box, and its Monza- reminiscent asymmetric style is near perfect. It is a contemporary take on the classic seventies boy racer. The detailing is exquisite, with diamond stitched reinforced panels to the shoulder and elbows and lower back, with perforated interior chest panelling and interior cuffs. It also has riveted elbows. The Clash has concertina side panels and two buckle fastening side straps. The cuffs and front opening are heavy duty zippered.
The cut is slim fit with the sleeves pre-curved for an aggressive riding stance, and it has a dropped back length and a relaxed snap collar opening. It has a vertical chest pocket and two lower slightly slanted pockets, one with a very useful concealed clip for keys off the bike. There is further zippered pocket on the right arm.
The attention to design detail on this jacket is meticulous, and born out of years of practical riding and an unapologetic desire to look good. But do not mistake this for a fashion jacket. This is built for purpose. It’s made from hand finished oiled and waxed .9 - 1.1mm top grain cowhide and has compartments ready for armour in the shoulder, elbow and back. Dedicated Nitrex Evo multiple impact CE rated 1621-1:1997 armour can be purchased separately. This is a very capable jacket both with and without the armour.
The Clash is comfortable from the get-go, the leather soft and pliable, and the cut sympathetic to a committed stance. I’ve struggled with other jackets on my CB750 cafe racer with it’s ridiculously high rear sets and low clip ons, but the Clash works perfectly.
What also needs to be mentioned is the the price. For something so well made and built to such a high quality, the cost is reasonable. You get a lot for your hard earned readies, and something that will look after you in the event of a slide up the road.
PRODUCT REVIEW - HIUT SELVEDGE DENIM HACK@2014 JEANS
Now I know some of you scream in horror at the sight of a biker wearing jeans on his or her ride, lamenting the lack of foam and plastic armour, questioning the legitimacy of denim in the world of the motorcycle, but hey, more motorcyclists wear jeans as a practical alternative to leather and Gortex, than those who don’t. So if denim offends you, look away now!
Hiut make their jeans in Cardigan, Wales. A small town of 4,000 people, ten percent of which used to make jeans, producing up to 35,000 pairs a week for three decades. Then the factory shut. So Hiut stepped in, and Cardigan is making jeans again, albeit now only a hundred pairs a week. Hiut are a no-debt artisan company that gives its denim craftsmen and women the title “Grand Master’, that’s how highly they respect their skills and the jeans they produce.
Hiut’s jeans are special. They have a limited range that focuses on quality of cut and material. They are a premium jean that appeal to the discerning denim geek.
The Denim Hack@2014 are a slim, but not skinny, five pocket jean constructed from unwashed 14.5 oz selvedge denim woven on a 1959 shuttle loom at Kuroki, the Japanese artisan mill. The denim is hand dipped ten times with natural indigo to achieve its deep blue colour. They have a refreshing non branded feel, the only visible mark being the subtle red owl rivet on the left back pocket.
Hiut give every pair of jeans a unique HistoryTag that allows you to document the life of your jeans online. It may seem a silly idea to some, but for denim aficionados it’s a great way of remembering what you got up to in them, and if they get passed on, a legacy. I personally like this kind of thing.
These are a comfortable mid weight jean that has a slightly more generous rise than other slim jeans I’ve bought, that helps avoid the rather unattractive spectacle of bikers arse. The pockets are extra deep so reducing the risk of leaving a trail of your valuable bits along the A40. They have ample room around the thigh that allows movement around the bike, and the leg opening is sufficient to wear with engineer boots. Like good selvedge denim they stretch and give to the contours of the body, and after a couple of wears these have bedded in really nicely. These are a sturdy well stitched jean that are meant to be worn and worked. With more abuse the better they become.
PRODUCT REVIEW T-SHIRTS
“Hurrah, summer’s arrived!” he says peeling off his waterproofs after getting caught short in yet another summer shower. Still, it’s Wheels & Waves next week and it’s bound to be hot in Biarritz, right? Mmmmm. Anyway, it is June so we thought it was time to review some cool T-shirts to wear under your leathers (or your waterproofs), and we’ve got an eclectic array for your perusal.
Hackney natives Black Skulls London http://blackskullslondon.co.uk/
have teamed up with artist Stevie Gee and produced a limited run of Ts. They’re all terrific.
have applied their usually obsessive attention to detail to make the authentic US Marine Corp spec ELMC club T-shirt. it’s a 100% Raffy cotton with a no side-seam, loop wheel tube construction, in bottle green that matches the wartime shade perfectly. Lovely.
Vegas based Oil and Blood http://oilandblood.com
is the passion project of bike builders Luke and Steve, and amongst a great array of apparel, they offer the very cheeky Chimp T. This little fella is well cool in his painted open face.
Buy Me Brunch http://www.buymebrunch.com
offer a reproduction of the t-shirt famously worn by Hunter S Thompson, “Polite As Fuck”. Not a lot more to say about this really except don’t wear it when you meet the girlfriend’s mother for the first time.
We’ll feature some more of our favorite T’s later this summer.
PRODUCT REVIEW - NORTH SEA CLOTHING COTTON SUBMARINER
The submariner sweater was War Office issue to the Royal Navy in both world wars, and was used by the North Atlantic convoys to keep out the bitter chill. Motorcyclists adopted submariner sweaters in the 1950s to wear under their jackets in winter. Neil at North Sea Clothing used to source and sell these great original War Era sweaters, until they started getting hard to find. So he decided to re-make these Sweaters to the exact specifications of the original design, in the same 100% British Wool. These became his signature garment, and the Submariner has since kept many a motorcyclist warm in the bitter winter.
Neil has now introduced a 100% cotton weave Submariner that can be worn in the warmer months. It’s the same gauge knit as it’s winter cousin and retains the internal neck seam reinforcements. Because it’s cotton it breathes well and doesn’t get too hot.
The cotton submariner can be worn over a T-shirt or comfortably next to the skin, and provides a valuable layer of insulation when the sun sets and the temperature drops. It’s a snug fit that is easily worn under a leather jacket, and the high roll neck negates the need for a scarf. You can roll the neck right up to cover your nose and mouth if it gets really chilly. The long sleeve and waist cuffs seal the jumper’s insulation.
This is a great practical piece of kit that folds down to nothing, so easily transported during the day if it’s hot, and it looks great too, reminiscent of the Ace Cafe boy racers of the 50s and 60s. It's available in ecru and navy.
GUEST REVIEW FROM WORN TO RIDE http://worntoride.com/
ELMC HELMET BAG
Aside from keeping the wind out of your hair and obviously looking pretty damn cool as an extension to your head, a helmet basically has one vital function and that’s keeping your bonce protected should it ever come in to contact with the tarmac.
It’s only right and fair that you show this trusty companion the same care and respect that it shows you by keeping it safe and sound when it’s taking a rest, and ELMC have come up with the perfect accessory. Their unique Helmet Bag, made exclusively for them by Union Six is produced from recycled mil spec duck cotton canvas making it hard wearing and fit for purpose.
The strong canvas webbing handles mean that you can carry it with ease next to your shopping, laptop bag or briefcase and there’s even an internal key pocket and metal loop so you can keep all of your important belongings safe in one place. It’s available in subdued and dark green colourways with each one featuring some pretty cool vintage military print across the straps.
ELMC is the new brand from Eastman Leather Clothing so you can rest assured that the Helmet Bag is made to the same quality specs as their vast range of vintage flight jackets and accessories.